What we do

And what it means for you

Defence is and will remain a national responsibility of the European Union’s 27 countries. But while not creating an ‘EU army’, the EU can help its members buy, develop and operate new assets together. This helps save money, allows militaries to work closely together and reinforces NATO. The European Defence Agency (EDA) was created in 2004 to promote defence collaboration in the EU.

  5 reasons why our work matters


We help our armed forces spend better

Equipping the military is expensive. If each EU government works in isolation, it leads to duplicating what others have. In Europe, there is a wide diversification of military equipment. For example, EU countries operate 12 types of battle tank, while the United States only has one. That’s why we at the EDA manage joint projects to help our Member States develop or acquire their military assets.

We help our militaries work together

Based in Brussels, the EDA’s doors are open for collaboration involving two or more EU countries. We have more than 180 experts managing more than 140 capability development and research projects, and the number is growing. Our work helps EU governments avoid having differing systems that do not match up and which prevent the sharing of everything from information to spare parts.

From priorities to projects

We help agree on what armed forces really need, together setting capability development priorities. We help review capability stocks, identify where shortfalls lie and how to fill the gaps. Then, through a mechanism called Permanent Structured Cooperation, or PESCO, we help countries develop new projects together.

We anticipate tomorrow's defences needs

Defence must continue to innovate as technological progress reshapes warfare. EDA offers ways to bring together expertise, drawing on start-ups, universities, industry, and national experts. EDA serves as the hub for European defence innovation, known as HEDI.

We train  together

Multinational military operations depend on troop preparedness. We offer joint training and exercises to militaries, including drone operations and cyber defence. Our helicopter programme has grown so much that it is now permanently run out of Portugal.